Iowa's Catholic bishops vigorously disagreed with the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision April 3 that strikes down state law defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
"This decision rejects the wisdom of thousands of years of human history. It implements a novel understanding of marriage, which will grievously harm families and children," the bishops said in a statement prepared by the Iowa Catholic Conference.
The bishops vowed to continue to protect and promote marriage as a union between a man and a woman and asked Catholics and other citizens of Iowa to call for a constitutional amendment on marriage.
With the high court's ruling, Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to recognize marriages for gay and lesbian couples, after Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Last May, California's Supreme Court overturned its statute barring same-sex marriage, but a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman was approved by voters in November. That state's Supreme Court is to issue a decision on a constitutional challenge to the ballot initiative.